Sunday, December 01, 2013

(HERALD ZW) Govt to address liquidity: VP
October 25, 2013 Shingirai Huni Business

ZimTrade founding chairman Mr Cephas Msipa (left) receives a token of appreciation from Ms Arlene Wilson-Max, the managing director of Africa Exchange, who organised the ZimTrade Exporters Conference in Harare yesterday
Business Reporter

GOVERNMENT will explore all available avenues to secure affordable lines of credit to revive the manufacturing sector, Vice President Joice Mujuru said yesterday.

Addressing delegates who attended the ZimTrade Exporters’ Conference in Harare, VP Mujuru said Government was concerned with liquidity constraints affecting manufacturers, saying the economic policy to be launched soon would address some of the challenges. Zimbabwe’s manufacturing sector requires an estimated US$2 billion for recapitalisation.

“I would like to assure industry and commerce that Government is aware of the liquidity and supply side challenges that industry is facing,” said VP Mujuru.

“Consequently, Government, will, through the Zimbabwe Agenda for Sustainable Socio-Economic Transformation, explore all means to access affordable sources of funding to capacitate industry, to retool and to invest in new and relevant technology.”

Zim Asset is a medium-term economic blueprint that focuses on stimulating the economy. The blueprint targets an average 7,3 percent economic growth in the next five years. VP Mujuru said the poor performance of the manufacturing sector had seen the influx of mostly sub-standard imports, thus creating unfair competition for local producers.

Some of the factors that have constrained the industry include low aggregate demand due to low disposable incomes.

This has resulted in the manufacturing sector operating below capacity. Individual consumption is skewed towards basic commodities, thereby negatively affecting the rest of the industry outside the value chain of basic commodities.

Lack of demand has also been worsened by the fact that Government has little to spend. In a country with a Government with a limited purse, the economy goes into stagnation in the absence of a stimulus package.

Lack of long-term loans caused by transitory deposits has also made it difficult for industry to obtain long- term credit for retooling and working capital.

With Zimbabwe’s debt at close to US$11 billion, this on its own raises the country’s risk profile and makes it difficult for companies to source offshore finance.

In recent years, Zimbabwe’s economy has also suffered from stiff competition from foreign trade leading to a situation where the country is literally running trade deficits with most trading partners.

VP Mujuru expressed concern over the widening the trade deficit, saying urgent measures must be taken to improve the trade balance through robust export performance.

“As an economy, it is critical to restore the manufacturing sector’s contribution to export earnings from the current 16 percent to 50 percent by 2016,” said VP Mujuru. She urged companies to redefine their business models and be innovative to sustain competition.

Local producers were also urged to take advantage of bilateral regional and international trade and investment protocols signed by the Government to penetrate export markets.

VP Mujuru implored ZimTrade to embrace Information Communication Technology by promoting on-line trading, critical for facilitating imports from Zimbabwe.

Earlier, ZimTrade chief executive Mrs Sithembile Pi- lime told delegates that the trade and export promotion body would next year embark on road shows to promote Zimbabwe’s exports.

She said there was need to spread the market risk as Zimbabwe was exporting the bulk of its goods to South Africa. “If anything goes wrong with that market, we will be in trouble,” she said.

The conference was held under the theme “Value Chain Business Models: The Key to Export Competitiveness”.

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(HERALD ZW) No plans to unbundle Zesa: Mavhaire
October 25, 2013
Herald Reporter

Government has no intention to dismantle Zesa and place the power utility in private hands as envisaged by the Electricity Amendment Act passed by Parliament during the subsistence of the inclusive Government this year, a Cabinet Minister has said. The Act has since been declared a legal nullity.

Energy and Power Development Minister Dzikamai Mavhaire said contrary to the Electricity Amendment Act, that sought to unbundle Zesa, his ministry would not allow that to happen as that was not consistent with Government policy and the Zanu-PF manifesto.

“The position is that I have no intention of dismantling Zesa,” said Minister Mavhaire last night.

“There is no way I can put Zesa in private hands.
“The only set up where we will allow private players is under the arrangement of Independent Power Producers that we have licensed.”
Clerk of Parliament Mr Austin Zvoma has since written to the Registrar of the High Court and the Chief Secretary to the President and Cabinet demanding the return of Electricity Amendment Act 2013, which sought to unbundle Zesa Holdings into an indeterminate number of privately-owned successor companies.

The planned unbundling and privatisation — which was reportedly being orchestrated by some officials at the Energy and Power Development Ministry in cahoots with former minister Mr Elton Mangoma — would have effectively put the critical power sector into the hands of unknown Western investors picked at Mr Mangoma’s discretion.

Minister Mavhaire last night, described the Act as “null and void.”
He said if firms would be formed under the unbundling of Zesa, Government would have 100 percent stake.

Sources close to developments say everything was being done without the knowledge of Minister Mavhaire, amid reports that officers at Zesa were already working on logos for the new companies, again without the knowledge of the minister.

The Amendment Act was hurried through Parliament by MDC-T legislators, who took advantage of the fact that their Zanu-PF counterparts were holed in their constituencies for the party’s primary elections.

The Bill was passed before being sent for Presidential assent, which was, however, granted after the mandatory 21 days had lapsed, making the resultant Act a legal nullity.

Section 51 of the old Constitution, which was still operational ahead of the effective date of the new Constitution, stated that:
1) Subject to the provisions of section 52 and Schedule 4, the power of Parliament to make laws shall be exercised by Bills passed by the House of Assembly and the Senate and assented to by the President.

(2) When a Bill is presented to the President for assent he shall, subject to the provisions of this section, within twenty-one, days, either assent or withhold his assent.

The Electricity Amendment (No.5 of 2013) Act sought to repeal Section 68 of the Electricity Act (Chapter 13:19) which was to be replaced with a new Section 68 Formation of Successor Companies which stipulates that:

(1) The Minister shall, not later than six months after the fixed date, take such steps as are necessary under the Companies Act (Chapter 24:03) to secure the formation of one or more of the following companies limited by shares, which shall be the successor company or successor companies to the Authority –

(a) a company to take over the electricity generation plants of the Authority;
(b) a company to take over the transmission system of the Authority;
(c) a company to take over from the Authority the distribution and supply of electricity;
(d) such other companies as the Minister may approve.

The proviso, “such other companies as the Minister may approve’’ was a clear blank cheque to Mr Mangoma and crew to do what they wanted with a key state enterprise.

Apart from the personal profit motive, sources say there was also a clear political motive to destroy Zesa or put it beyond the influence of Government which would then have been at the mercy of the private investors linked to the MDC-T.

This would have left the succeeding Zanu-PF Government at the mercy of the investors who would have used power for political leverage as power has been identified as a key enabler of Government’s new economic blueprint, the Zimbabwe Agenda for Sustainable Socio-Economic Transformation (Zim Asset).

In pursuit of unconstitutional regime change, MDC-T leader Mr Morgan Tsvangirai is on record asking South Africa to cut off Zimbabwe’s fuel and power supply.

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(NEWZIMBABWE) Mangoma furious at ZESA sell-off allegations
26/10/2013 00:00:00
by Staff Reporter

FORMER energy minister Elton Mangoma has threatened to sue a state-run newspaper after it accused him of trying to sell-off the power utility ZESA to western investors linked to his MDC-T party.

Mangoma’s lawyers, this week, demanded that the Herald retract its report and issue an unreserved apology or face a claim for defamation at the High Court.

The newspaper accused the MDC-T treasury chief of trying to unbundle and privatise Zesa which has perennially failed to meet the country’s electricity requirements.

“Apart from the personal profit motive, sources say there was also a clear political motive to destroy Zesa or put it beyond the influence of Government which would then have been at the mercy of the private investors linked to the MDC-T, ” read party of the report which has infuriated the senior MDC-T official.

Mangoma however said the report was full of “sensational, untrue and highly defamatory comments”.

“These comments seem designed to damage the reputation of our client in the public eye and create public opprobrium towards said client,” said the former minister through his lawyers, Mupanga Bhatasara Attorneys.

“The story gives an impression of a clumsy hatchet job on the character of an outstanding public servant who is on record for having solved the perennial fuel crisis and had gone on to work tirelessly day and night (emphasis deliberate) to lessen the electricity shortages,? the letter reads.”

New energy minister Dzikamai Mavhaire has since ruled out privatisation of the power utility.

“The position is that I have no intention of dismantling Zesa. There is no way I can put Zesa in private hands,” Mavhaire told the Herald.

“The only set up where we will allow private players is under the arrangement of Independent Power Producers that we have licensed.”

Unable to produce enough power to meet the country’s needs or raise the cash needed to plug the generation gap through imports, ZESA has resorted to rationing supplies to both domestic and commercial users for years.

Productive sectors such as mining and industry blame say power supply problems have undermined efforts to operate at optimal capacity, adversely impact efforts to ensure sustained economic recovery.

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(HERALD ZW) Surge in value of Zim diamonds forecast
October 26, 2013
Zvamaida Murwira Senior Reporter

THE value of Zimbabwe’s diamonds is expected to rise significantly owing to the re-engagement between Harare and the Antwerp World Diamond Council. Resumption of trade with AWDC — which has about 2 000 traders of the gems — should see demand for diamonds surge and consequently, the value as there would be more buyers on the market.

The visiting AWDC top leadership held a series of meetings with three Government ministers yesterday to concretise resumption of trade in diamonds between Zimbabwe and the Belgium-based organisation.

They held meetings with Mines and Mining Development Minister Walter Chidhakwa, Finance Minister Patrick Chinamasa, Industry and Commerce Minister Mike Bimha and officials from the Zimbabwe Mining Development Corporation and Minerals Marketing Corporation of Zimbabwe.

Both the AWDC leadership and Zimbabwean authorities were agreed that the lifting of illegal sanctions against ZMDC would boost the value of diamonds extracted in Zimbabwe, spawning economic boom.

The boom is underpinned by the fact that Zimbabwe’s diamonds would now be exposed to about 2 000 buyers under the Antwerp network.

Zimbabwean authorities are now expected to leave for Brussels soon to concretise the deals and interact with some of the diamond traders under the AWDC diamond network that boasts of 550 years of experience in the precious stones.

Speaking at a business lunch yesterday, AWDC chief executive officer, Mr Ari Epstein acknowledged that sanctions had the effect of undervaluing Zimbabwe’s diamonds, thereby prejudicing the country of revenue.

“We are truly convinced that the Zimbabwean diamonds are today sold significantly below their market value. Backed by more than 550 years of expertise and a critical mass of buyers and sellers, we can guarantee an optimal and transparent pricing mechanism,” said Mr Epstein.

He pledged to have a mutually beneficial trading arrangement with Zimbabwe.

“Honourable ministers, it is for all of us a new beginning. You represent the new team governing Zimbabwe, and from our part a renewed engagement. We look forward to trade within a new dynamic, by ensuring long term and mutually beneficial relationship between Antwerp and Zimbabwe, a relationship in which our experience, standards and knowledge are shared and put to the benefit of an optimal value for Zimbabwe,” he said.

Speaking at the same occasion, Minister Chidhakwa said the new partnership that had been conceived, would trigger higher value of Zimbabwe’s diamonds.

“I agree that the pricing, the valuation of our diamonds, for one reason or the other is really not what the world expects of us and we also do not expect that of ourselves. We hope that we can improve our valuation and certainly the fact that we have been removed from sanctions, now give us a wider group of buyers, business people who will not hesitate to come to us because they know that they are dealing with Zimbabwean people who are not under sanctions,” he said.

Minister Chidhakwa said he hoped that the EU, with the assistance of World Diamond Council would remove all the remaining sanctions on Zimbabwe so that it trades freely in every sector.

He commended AWDC for showing confidence in Zimbabwe, saying its decision was premised on the full compliance of Kimberly Process Certificate Scheme by Zimbabwean firms and the free, fair and credible July 31 2013 election.

Minister Chidhakwa also paid tribute on AWDC for putting up a fight on behalf of Zimbabwe to have sanctions removed on ZMDC.

“We want to ensure that beyond meeting the KPCS requirement, to secure the sector, to ensure that the process by which our diamonds are mined, marketed and logistically moved to other countries has the same level of transparency as those marketed elsewhere in the world,” he said.

Minister Chidhakwa told the AWDC that Zimbabwe had indeed held free, fair and credible election, so much that all political players were agreed that the polls were peaceful.

He said with the lifting of sanctions on the trade of diamonds, the sale of the precious commodity would be done in a mutually beneficial way.

“We recognise the importance of our partners, the people we do business with. They are not here just to be friends with us, they are here to make business, make money for themselves, to run profitable businesses and therefore we want them to benefit from the ventures,” he said.

“But we also, as representatives of the Zimbabwean people, as a Government, we want the Zimbabwean people to begin to say, yes this country is endowed with diamonds and we are feeling the positive benefits of the diamonds.”

MMCZ chairperson, Mrs Juliet Machoba said the lifting of sanctions would now open them up to 1800 diamond traders.

“We will have a much bigger exposure of markets as opposed to the situation we had,” she said.



(HERALD ZW) Tsvangirai de-campaigns Chiadzwa diamonds
October 26, 2013 Shingirai Huni Local News
Herald Reporter

MDC-T leader Mr Morgan Tsvangirai was yesterday dragged by his handlers to a seminar at Oxford University where he cast aspersions on diamond mining at Chiadzwa in a bid to counter the visit by the Antwerp World Diamond Council delegation that arrived in Zimbabwe on Thursday to explore modalities of trading the gems on the international market.

Mr Tsvangirai was accompanied to the seminar titled “Making Extractive Industries in Africa Work for African People” that was jointly convened by Oxford University and the international NGO Oxfam, by his political advisor Dr Alex Magaisa.

Contrary to media reports, Mr Tsvangirai was not billed for a special lecture on the aforementioned subject as he was part of a three-member panel along with Mr Sam Kutesa, Uganda’s foreign affairs minister and Professor Mthuli Ncube, chief economist with the African Development Bank.

In his presentation, which focused entirely on Zimbabwe, Mr Tsvangirai claimed a “new dangerous culture emerged when diamonds were discovered in Zimbabwe” that he claimed was manifest in:

* the powerful role of the military that he claimed had taken over and militarised operations in Chiadzwa.

* lack of transparency in diamond mining and revenue.

* elite capture of national diamond resources; and

* emergence of a parallel government during the inclusive Government that he claimed was bankrolled by diamond revenue.

He claimed Zanu-PF “stole” the harmonised elections using diamond money that he claimed was used to create a Zanu-PF “war chest”. And in the clearest indication that he would ignore the dominant sentiment in his party that he was past his sell by date, Mr Tsvangirai said “democratisation was not an event” but a process that would take him to the 2018 elections.

Analysts yesterday described the seminar as an attempt to secure the door when the horses had already bolted as the Antwerp World Diamond Council was in Zimbabwe exploring modalities of getting the Chiadzwa diamonds on the international market.

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(NEWZIMBABWE) Tsvangirai: how diamonds shaped our politics
26/10/2013 00:00:00by Morgan Tsvangirai

I have impeccable information of how 30,000 carats were clandestinely spirited out of the country in April and May this year by named senior Zanu PF officials and military generals and sold through an intermediary in Angola for the sole purpose of funding electoral theft. God gave Zimbabwe these natural resources as a blessing and not a curse.

As the MDC, we pray that they benefit the majority of the people of Zimbabwe. We will use all the platforms we currently occupy, especially Parliament, to articulate and protect the interests of the ordinary citizen of our country on such matters where the innocent citizen is being short-changed. I thank you

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(NEWZIMBAWE) Tsvangirai: how diamonds shaped our politics
26/10/2013 00:00:00
by Morgan Tsvangirai

“The Zimbabwean experience of diamonds and how they have shaped our politics.” - MDC President Morgan Tsvangirai’s Speech at Oxford University (Thursday, 24thOctober 2013)

IT is always inspiring and a great honour to be invited to an august forum of such a prestigious and famous institution of higher learning and research. I sincerely acknowledge the invitation to Oxford University and the Centre for African Studies, one of the highest centres of learning in the world. For centuries, some of the world’s greatest minds have walked the cobbled streets of Oxford and graced its platforms and I am humbled to have been chosen to be in your company today.

This is my first international engagement after the disputed elections in Zimbabwe and to do so at this world-renowned centre of learning is both an honour and a privilege. That you have invited me here represents a re-affirmation of the importance of our cause and the seriousness with which it is regarded by the academic world, especially the Centre for African Studies which has over the years provided a forum for discussion and debate on the critical issues affecting our continent, a continent toward which some of us have invested so much time, effort and love to ensure that it provides a safe and happy environment for its inhabitants.

Politics has always stood to benefit from intellectual capital. Developmental and democratic processes in Zimbabwe and Africa generally can benefit more from greater input by intellectuals. Research is critical – it informs politicians and politics and as the MDC, we place high value on the contributions made by intellectuals even as we appreciate that politics is an arena for participation by everyone.

We regularly draw on the expertise of intellectuals and do not hesitate to invite them to work with us and we have been privileged to have some joining our ranks over the years. We take your work seriously and encourage you to do more research on Zimbabwe including on issues that form the core of today’s discussion. Left to ourselves and our egos, we politicians can easily become our own worst enemies and so we need intellectuals to play their critical role, pointing to our errors and checking our excesses. It is for this reason that we in the MDC fought hard to ensure the inclusion of the right to academic freedom in Zimbabwe’s new Constitution.

I have been asked to talk about the extractive industry, in particular, the diamond industry in Zimbabwe and its impact on the politics obtaining in the country. This topic is most appropriate and poignant, given the background of the most recent elections in Zimbabwe, whose process and outcome have been marked by serious controversy leaving serious credibility and legitimacy questions.

While it is tempting, the purpose of the paper is not to discuss the process and outcome of those elections, which is a matter for another forum. The paper will however, make reference to the elections to the extent that it is necessary and unavoidable in discussing the interplay between the diamond industry and politics in Zimbabwe – which forms the core of this paper.
Diamond curse

While Zimbabwe could have learned from previous experience in other African countries, such as Sierra Leone and the DRC, the discovery of diamonds has indeed followed the all-too-familiar script and turned out to be a curse rather than a blessing for the country. There were serious human rights abuses that took place following the discovery of the precious stones – as reported and authenticated by civil society organisations and the initial disbarment of Zimbabwean diamonds from the Kimberly Process until not so long ago, when they received certification.

The military occupation of the diamond fields, the beatings and killings of those who came for the “Diamond Rush”, the forced displacement of the local people in Marange in Manicaland province and the problems they continue to face following their displacement remains a cause for concern. The poverty endemic in this area is not consistent with the value of the diamonds extracted from their land. It is displeasing how a people can continue to wallow in poverty in the midst of a treasure benefitting the well-heeled and the well-connected in government.

The mining industry has replaced the once-thriving agricultural sector as the biggest export and foreign currency earner for the country. The sector has seen a lot of companies entering the fray, particularly in diamond mining. The companies include: River Ranch, Murowa Diamonds, Mbada Diamonds, Anjin, Marange Resources and Diamond Mining Company (DMC). Government, through the state-owned company, ZMDC entered into joint venture agreements with a 50/50 shareholding in the following companies: Mbada, Anjin and DMC. Marange Resources is owned 100% by ZMDC.

The diamond mining sector was generally small until the huge discovery of alluvial deposits in Marange in 2006. It is estimated that the country now has the capacity to supply 25% of the global diamond market.

As a party, the MDC’s aims to promote a “social democratic developmental state”, and sees the mining industry as a critical sector through which to promote both development and strengthen democratisation in the country. Unfortunately, the experience so far under Zanu PF in control of natural resources and the mining sector is that the diamond industry has neither helped in promoting development or democratisation in the country.

Instead, it has increased the gap between the minority that are extremely rich and the majority who remain poor while at the same time fuelling the undermining of democratic processes. I will endeavour to demonstrate this in more detail below by showing the major challenges affecting the diamond mining industry and how they have impacted on the politics in the country.
Lack of transparency

The secrecy and lack of transparency in the diamond mining industry has resulted in serious leakages and failure to remit satisfactory revenues to the State. While the Minister of Finance expected $600 million from the proceeds of diamond exports in 2012, the State only received about $41 million. This is against reported sales of diamonds running into billions of dollars every year. According to international NGO Global Witness, about $2bn in diamond revenues have been unaccounted for since 2008.

In 2012, our Minister of Finance was forced to revise his $4 billion National Budget to $3,4 billion after the $600 million expected from diamond sales did not materialise. Our own Parliamentary Portfolio Committee on Mines and Energy presented a report in Parliament in June 2013 which states the following:

“The Committee observed with concern that from the time that the country was allowed to trade its diamonds on the world market, government has not realized any meaningful contributions from the sector. This is despite the fact that production levels and the revenue generated from exports has been on the increase. There are serious discrepancies between what government receives from the sector and what the diamond mining companies claim to have remitted to Treasury”.

The parliamentary committee's report said powerful officials, politicians and police and army commanders repeatedly tried to thwart the probe into diamond dealings. The chair of the 22-member panel, Edward Chindori-Chininga, a former Mugabe Mines minister, died in a car crash just days after he signed off the report in June. Police said Chindori-Chininga's death was accidental and that his car had veered off the highway and slammed into trees. However, observers found the circumstances of his demise suspicious.

Certainly, car wrecks or mysterious accidents are not uncommon in our part of the world and as a local press report indicated recently, they have taken the lives of 12 senior politicians, all of whom were believed to have bucked official policy, in the past two decades. The parliamentary committee's report said several officials lied while giving evidence under subpoena and that diamond earnings are not only shielded from scrutiny but are not channelled into the state coffers.

The one notable discrepancy is that while Treasury received $41 million only in 2012, one of the diamond mining companies which responded to the Parliamentary Committee (Mbada) stated that it had remitted $117 million to government as dividends for its shareholding. The difference between $117 million supposedly received from Mbada and the $41 million actually received by treasury remains unaccounted for. This is even before one considers remittances in dividends from other diamond mining companies in which the state is a shareholder, let alone the royalty fees and other payments due to the state.

The lack of transparency means that nobody appears to know exactly how much the country has earned from diamonds and whether the reported figures are accurate. It is clear that there is serious under-reporting of the proceeds from diamond mining and trade. The effect of the low remittances to government simply means the State has been thin on resources and it has not been able to finance the developmental projects that had been budgeted for. With the State receiving little revenues than expected, its developmental role has been seriously hamstrung.

It is hoped that the lifting of restrictive measures on ZMDC and the use of the Kimberly Process will promote greater transparency. The measures had the effect of giving rent-seekers an opportunity to conduct their dealings in the parallel market, thereby promoting shady deals, leakages, non-accountability and corrupt activities. They no longer have that excuse and it is expected that there will be added transparency and therefore accountability in the mining and trade of diamonds. If the State receives what is due to it from the diamond companies, the hope is that the Government will channel those resources to developmental projects. We had comprehensive plans, as an MDC Government to make diamonds work for the people of Zimbabwe – using the proceeds to support infrastructural projects and promoting social services for local communities.

Diamond mining in our country is riddled with corruption as confirmed by the Parliamentary Committee report and President Mugabe’s recent speech at the official opening of Parliament when he cited the former ZMDC chairperson as having accepted bribes from prospective investors. Many of us believe the naming and shaming of a few individuals is only a tip of the iceberg. The corruption is mainly due to the lack of transparency and unbridled greed on the part of those entrusted with overseeing the diamond mining industry. It is to be noted that the former Minister of Mines who has previously been fingered in corrupt deals is now an owner of a bank that had fallen on hard times. Many of the people in and around the diamond mining industry are known for their conspicuous consumption in the middle of a sea of poverty around the country. Corruption has also impacted on investment as the costs invariably are higher because of rent-seekers using corrupt means to secure benefits for themselves.

There is an unusual involvement of the military and the police in the diamond mining industry, when mining is a civilian exercise. The army, police and other security services have formed trusts through which they own shareholdings in diamond mining companies. No other arms or agencies of the state have the same facilities. Indeed, there are no known investments by the army, police and other security services in businesses beyond the diamond mining industry. This goes to demonstrate the critical place occupied by the diamond mining industry in the political dynamics of the country.

With heavy interest invested in the industry by the military courtesy of Zanu PF, this has strengthened the bond between the party and the military, resulting in the latter having a greater incentive to ensure the former retains power at all costs. Not surprisingly, the military played a critical role in the election process, mainly propping up Zanu PF and mobilising support, including their role in electoral institutions and processes.

Military personnel were deployed in provinces to mobilise support for Zanu PF in what were referred to as political re-education campaigns, long before the election started. Zanu PF was actively aided by the security services sector in their political campaign, thereby giving them an unfair advantage over fellow contestants. While there was less of the violence that was seen in previous elections, the mere presence of soldiers and security personnel especially in rural areas during the election campaigns helped to intimidate voters, reminded them of the scourge of state-sponsored violence of 2008 and generally assisted Zanu PF to benefit from the “harvest of fear” in the 2013 election. The participation of the security services in support of Zanu PF was incentivised by the benefits accruing from the diamond mining industry.
Refusal to account

It is expected in a normal democracy that the Executive is accountable to Parliament and that when Parliament seeks answers, it should be able to summon the executive and make the necessary enquiries. The experience of Parliament generally and the Portfolio Committee showed that when it came to the diamond industry, the Executive was actively refusing to account.

According to the Portfolio Committee Report, “During the four year period of the enquiry, the Committee observed with concern that the Executive and its officers were generally not willing to be held accountable by Parliament. This was evidenced through the Committee’s experiences as it conducted this enquiry. This goes against the basic universal principles of Ministerial Accountability to the Legislature as enshrined in national or international law”.

This goes to demonstrate how the curse of diamonds has actually worked to undermine the normal democratic process and therefore contaminate the democratic culture in the country.
China and the industry

There is a heavy involvement of the Chinese in our diamond industry. They are probably the only foreign investor with significant control of the diamond industry but their investment and activities are also shrouded in secrecy and controversy. From the prevalence of unfair labour practices in Chinese-run companies to corruption and serious leakages, there have been many complaints regarding Chinese role in the diamond mining industry. Zanu PF has always regarded the Chinese as their all-weather friends. It is probably by no coincidence that in return, China has been one of the biggest backers of ZANU PF - at the international level (UN). We note that the Communist Party of China played an important to support Zanu PF in the recent election.

Zanu PF has used diamonds to strengthen its relationship with China, particularly in order to safeguard its own interests at the international stage, e.g. the UN Security Council. China’s approach in Africa is generally to turn a blind eye to human rights abuses or acts that undermine democracy as long as its own interests are being served. While some might acknowledge their refusal to get involved in the internal affairs of countries in which they operate, dictatorial regimes tend to take comfort in the cushion they receive.

In Zimbabwe, for example, Zanu PF regards China as a useful counter-weight to the West, which has generally been calling for human rights protection and promotion of democratic processes in the country. The diamond mining industry has been useful in oiling the relationship between Zanu PF and China with the latter providing political support needed by Zanu PF.
No value addition

Along with many other countries in Africa, diamonds and other minerals are generally produced and exported in their raw and cheaper forms. This does not aid Africa’s development as it ends up importing value added products at much higher prices. There are reports of tonnes of soil and rubble being shipped to China and other countries representing serious leakages in the system that could help in the country’s development efforts if they were plugged.

The overall impact of the diamond industry so far has been to derail the democratisation process through the overt involvement of the military, corruption and the emergence of a parallel economy that has fuelled illegal and underhand dealings impacting on the electoral processes.

Through this parallel economy, Zanu PF has large amounts of cash giving it the ability to manipulate the electoral process and subvert the will of the people through payment of shady consultancies to perform election-related work, the refusal to support the Treasury in its developmental work simply because it was MDC-controlled and the deliberate porosity and leakages in this sector.

All these factors have created a compromised State in which the ruling party was closely wedded to the military and other agencies benefitting from the diamond industry. I have reliable information that all these factors have converged to ensure a ZPF victory at all costs. Everything was done to make sure ZPF remained in power in order to protect the new found spaces to accumulate wealth. The lack of vision and proper plans in this industry have meant that apart from derailing the democratic processes, diamond mining is still is not geared towards development in the country.
What’s to be done?

Diamond mining has to benefit the communities in which mining is taking place and the people of Zimbabwe as a whole. Article 13 of our new Constitution provides that the State must ensure that local communities benefit from the resources in their areas. From a gender perspective, the new Constitution also provides that the State must ensure that women have access to resources on the basis of equality with men. I am certain that an analysis of the diamond mining industry and trade in Zimbabwe will demonstrate that it is skewed heavily against women. The militarisation, violence and power dynamics associated with the diamond industry are generally against any measures that are likely to promote women’s participation and their interests.

Overall, all activities in the diamond mining industry must be consistent with the spirit of constitutionalism. This implies safeguarding and promoting the fundamental rights and freedoms of the people as well as generally upholding the Rule of Law. Above all, there must be respect for property rights. To this extent, one tends to agree with the recommendations of the parliamentary portfolio committee which investigated the diamond mining industry of Zimbabwe.
Value addition

There is need for beneficiation and value addition for our diamonds in order to create more revenue, build industry and create jobs in Zimbabwe. This would assist in reducing the high unemployment levels currently pegged at almost 90 per cent. It will also enhance the country’s revenues by promoting the export of higher-value goods than the current practice where emphasis is on cheap raw materials.
Local communities

Our new Constitution enjoins us to ensure that local communities benefit from resources in their local areas. Ideally, from a development and upliftment perspective, investors should be encouraged to employ locally, i.e. from the local areas, thereby benefitting local communities but also other measures such as requiring minimum procurement of goods and services from local sources would also assist in the industries that are linked to the diamond mining industry. The province of Manicaland for example, should by now be the diamond hub of the country, hosting industries that form the supply chain to and from the diamond mining in Marange. Instead, we have diamond cutting companies establishing far away in Harare.
Environmental protection

Our mining has to be friendly to the environment. Environmental protection is now an important ecological aspect of mining as part of a strategy for sustainable development.
Geological surveys

One glaring fact is that there is lack of knowledge of the mineral deposits across the country and that is a result of lack of research and geological surveys. The government itself has acknowledged that the last geological survey was conducted way back in the colonial era and that the discovery of diamonds was accidental rather than a result of proper exploration.

The dearth of research and seriousness on the part of government is demonstrated by the fact that the Geology Department at the University of Zimbabwe, the country premier centre of learning, was at some point closed for lack of funds and staff. Many of our geologists are working in other countries like Sierra Leone, South Africa, etc. There is need therefore for a comprehensive geological survey to ascertain the extent, distribution and estimate value of the country’s mineral deposits. Current talk of the Sovereign Wealth Fund and other instruments is not backed by proper knowledge of what the country actually has.

Transparency and accountability

There is absolute need for accountability so that our diamond deposits benefit the ordinary people. In this respect, I agree with the parliamentary portfolio committee on the need for parliamentary oversight to protect the interests of the ordinary Zimbabwe who should derive abundant direct benefits from this natural resource.
Development and Democratisation

The country’s mineral wealth should not be a curse but a blessing for its people. There is a critical link between the mining industry and development in that revenues gained from the industry should fuel development projects and support social services provision in local communities and across the country. The people must see development and growth in their areas not the wealth manifesting in private accumulation by the elite. Further, transparency and accountability should plug the holes through which a parallel economy has manifested over the years, funding and supporting anti-democratic practices. We believe diamond money played a critical role in the last election particularly with the militarisation of the industry and the underhand dealings that supported actors who manipulated the voters’ roll and electoral processes.

The militarisation of the diamond mining industry has created an unhealthy state of affairs politically. It has cemented the relationship between the ruling Zanu PF and the military who now have vested interests in the industry and therefore the continued rule of Zanu PF. It is clear that the investments by the military in the diamond industry have created a strong interest in ensuring the continuation of the status quo. It is also for that reason that the military and security services generally have veered towards Zanu PF politically and they played a critical role in ensuring a Zanu PF “victory” in the July 31 elections. I would encourage you, as intellectuals and researchers to pursue further research into the role of the military in Zimbabwean politics and the extent to which the diamond discoveries in the country have influenced this role.

The new Constitution now acknowledges the equitable sharing of natural resources, which is a good starting point for a new dispensation, especially in the diamond industry where a few people have benefitted at the expense of millions of people in the country. Chapter 14 of the Constitution speaks to the objectives of devolution and that the powers of the provincial, metropolitan and local authorities, key of which is to ensure the equitable sharing of natural resources.

This Constitution now empowers and gives more rights to local communities, particularly in areas such as those where our large diamond deposits are found, to demand their share of the cake. We need to measure our natural capital so as to better protect our social and ecological heritage which may entail temporarily leaving our resources in the soil and increasing regulation to ensure that broader objectives are respected.

The MDC’s policy position is that we must have a Diamond Act whose objective is to give ownership of diamond concessions to the State, the creation of a diamond agency, a diamond regulator and to define down-stream beneficiation and compensation for communities, among other things.

It would be remiss of me to leave this podium without talking about the urgent need to de-toxicate mining from politics. This will enable Zimbabwe to avert the very real danger of using national mineral deposits to prejudice or promote the interests of political parties as we saw in the last election where Zanu PF abused the country’s diamonds to steal an election in broad daylight.

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(NEWZIMBABWE) Manheru bristles at Zanu PF sting
26/10/2013 00:00:00
by Nathaniel Manheru

OFTEN, one feels throttled, really throttled. Throttled by a certain narrowness of thought so abundant in the political world. Throttled by easy judgment so fashionable in the political world. For in that profound world, there are no round characters, only flat ones, mere vignettes far more superb than what Charles Dickens could ever fashion or portray. Everything comes in simple form, yielding to very simple meanings.

Indeed everything is reducible. What a simple world! That is why classification is so key to the methodology of politics, so key to political cognition! Maybe that is what Bretynbach meant when he said politics has a very limited vocabulary. Very limited mind or intellect indeed, I would add! After all, it was the master himself - President Mugabe - who once confessed that unlike teaching - his real profession - politics gladly suffers fools!

Tearing into Zanu PF

Last week I broke with tradition. I sank my harsh fangs and canines into Zanu PF, mauled it badly for some of its senseless rules, most of them crafted more to beguile and convict than to guide, more to entrap than to inspire. I gave examples galore, often dropping names and situations to illustrate my bitter points. For me, there was no ground where angels feared to tread. By the time I was done with Zanu PF, its torn flesh dangled red, weeping itself pale and dry.
Angry reposte

But as events turned out, this proved such a bad investment. I got quite a robust response. Comments came in, initially languid and cryptic, later quite voluminous, sour and tasty.
From reflexive tributes I have now grown accustomed to, and all of which I never take for granted, the debate soon took more profound tones, which included searching comments, unsettling threats veiled as peremptory advice and admonishment.

Or simply gratuitous abuse meant to hurt. But all of that is every columnist’s delight, Manheru included. There is no feedback more accurate than an angry reposte, feedback more satisfying than an angry shout which itself is clear proof that you have engaged a real issue, ruffled a living tissue. After all dead cells, however sharply pinched or pierced, never trigger a bodily recoil.
Mind no larger than tongue

But what I abhorred about the debate around last week’s instalment was a thinly veiled bullying streak that underlay it. Or worse, a stupid attempt to browbeat me out of free thinking. Much of both came from commentators who are in the Party, my party-mates in other words. And the browbeating came in various forms, including the most arresting and debilitating one built around the loyalty card. Why are you raising these issues so likely to expose and embarrass the Party?

Why are you criticising the President, exposing the Vice President, in your piece? Who do you hope to please? Or some such drivel clearly indicative of a mind no inch longer than the hot tongue that carries and conveys its depraved thoughts. I don’t mean to be nasty but please don’t seek to kill thoughts. Or their free expressions in the name of loyalty to Zanu PF, in the name of protecting the Party’s dignity, in the name of defending it against obloquy and revilement. I lose my balance once such logic kicks in.
What does not help Zanu PF

Zanu PF has absolutely nothing to gain from senseless rules, malicious rules of double application, of entrapment. A Party of national liberation, it has no business being actuated by base thoughts or impulses, no business vindictively chasing little boys right back to their mothers’ cradling breasts.

A Party of struggle should never chase demeaning arguments, pursue mean altercations that hold it up to ridicule, indeed that rob it of its dignity and aura as a maker of our Nation. And of course a great Party must yield great thoughts, great ideas that lead. As indeed it did in its last Politburo meeting where the acronym ZIM ASSET was coined for our thoughtful economic blueprint which has given governmental form to the Party’s manifesto.

That is the temperament, the tempo of a great Party of great accomplishments.
You can’t wish for more. No you can’t. And you give praises, unstintingly too. And that too spurs you to full revulsion each time the Party of such great deeds, greater thoughts, succumbs to below-par acts and performances. Such as in the Kereke case which has now come to an undignified conclusion for the Party. Thankfully my great Party did introspection well ahead of the court judgment, something which mitigated the impact of this needless, preventable misstep.
Opposition criticism, an escape?

There seems to be a view - wholly mistaken and despicable - that Manheru’s remit is to attack the opposition solely, attack the two MDCs and anything, anyone, opposed to Zanu PF. I admit there is a lot that this column has done to uphold such a misconception. I apologise for it. A mistaken view that my chief and sole purpose begins and ends with harsh words against the opposition. A mistaken view that my relationship with Zanu PF - my Party - is one of unconditional love and support, which, by the way, is not wrong.

What is wrong, what would be wrong, is for anyone to ever think that my love and commitment to Zanu PF translates to unconditional acceptance of all its ideas regardless, all its personalities regardless. A view that thinks Manheru is about excoriating the opposition only amounts to a diversion, some form of escapism.

You cope with and adjust to the failings of Zanu PF simply by redirecting your rheum towards the opposition! You sweep the failings of Zanu PF under the carpet by building and harkening the world towards an enormous heap of transgressions by the opposition. That way Zanu PF looks handsome, infallible, too perfect to require correction. It is a wrong view, very bad propaganda, suicidal in fact, and Manheru will not be party to it.
Only striving for perfection

Like all human constructs, Zanu PF is not perfect, will never be under any leadership however virtuous. But like all great institutions, Zanu PF seeks perfection, which is why it must always be in a state of reinventing itself, in the continual state of self-interrogation and debate. In history it made numerous errors, some of them huge and costly. This is why there was a major rethink of strategy after the 1966 Chinhoyi battle. While it is now a marker of our struggle, Chinhoyi as a case of costly sacrifice remains an unread subtext.

Errors, destructive ambitions, false visions and ideologies gave us the Nhari rebellion, Vashandi and others. But the greatness of Zanu PF has never been its infallibility which does not exist anyway. It has always been its ability to learn from and surmount past weaknesses, ability to introspect and overcome odds and invent new, filling thoughts as happened after 2008. See where we are now, owners of a four-thirds majority!
Zanu PF’s ups, downs

And then a key point which many seek to duck: it is in its moments of undisputed and indisputable ascendancy and triumph that Zanu PF is always at its worst and most fallible. It becomes reckless, very reckless. It becomes insolent, very insolent. It becomes indifferent to the people, most indifferent. It becomes unthinking, most unthinking.

Indeed, it begins to pursue little, ignoble goals, all of them unrelated to its original winning grand plans. Yes, it begins to chase and pursue fleeing rats when its house is on fire. Let’s go back in time, just a bit. 2000 was a disastrous year for the Party electorally. That setback made the MDC, gave it a baneful foothold in the national body-politic.

But Zanu PF was roused by this setback. It fought back and the result was the pre-eminence of 2005. Like the proverbial frog that had defied all odds by beating solid the very cream which should have drowned it, Zanu PF emerged triumphant, stolidly seating atop a lump of solidified cream - solidified by repeated beating - wiping a tear or two, preening its whiskers.

Tired and triumphant, it soon forgot that another trial was due in 2008. Before that trial, it reinvented itself as its own prime enemy, for having vanquished all, it did not have any outside of itself. Indeed 2008 came. What a disaster it proved to be! Zanu PF had been caught, masturbating. Distracted, it got walloped soundly. It had wrongly focused on Makoni: that lethal political red herring the Party had created for itself. It forgot the British, the Americans, the Germans, the Dutch, all of them intent on expunging it and its ethos of liberation.
Now go for each other

Thankfully it survived well enough to fight another day. But that survival was five long years of purgatory before it could redeem itself anew. That day came in 2013. Of course 2013 is now, a moment of fine resurgence for a Party so sorely bitten once and thus twice clever! But only a moment, which is what makes this rise-fall, rise-fall pattern menacingly likely yet again.

And the big question is, to this momentary zenith - this four-thirds majority of July 3 - should we expect a 2008- like nadir as its patterned sequel? Should we begin to gird ourselves for a 2018 where the Party returns and sinks into another trough as in 2000 and 2008? Mangoma of the MDC-T thinks so, adding all the MDC-T needs to do is to sit back and watch as Zanu PF trips itself through failure, non-performance or fatal agenda displacement as it gravitated towards inane pursuits. MDC-N thinks the same, stressing “now that we are out of the way, you guys can finish each other, one another for us. You are free to go back to your factions, with a vengeance too!” We receive this as friendly advice, and begin to live true to these dire predictions.
Just clearing their throat

I have two sobering anecdotes for all of us who are in Zanu PF, truly so. Last week the British sent into the country one of their own, some little servant of empire. He was very audacious in the few meetings he held with our officials. The British position in respect of elections and sanctions has not changed, he said. Has not changed from what Secretary Hague said. And the hag said our polls fell short of British standards and thus would not pass. After all, Britain was still waiting for final reports of the AU and Sadc.

Bare excuses born out of a sense of impunity, of invulnerability of the strong and mighty.
He went further. We did not have to read too much into the lifting of ZMDC from “restrictive measures”, he warned. After all this was an old decision by the EU. Much worse, it is meant to ensure that Britain can monitor how Zimbabwe - its colony for all time - handles its diamond sales, its diamond receipts!

You see where we stand in the British scheme of things. Sanctions are not going anywhere. The British are not relenting despite July 31. Any concessions they might be making, or we appear to see them making, amount to a clearing of throat. And another official is coming soon, largely to confer with the opposition writ large. I just thought you guys should know, you so happily wallowing in the triumphant result of July 31 before which all adversity, all enemies should melt away!
Tsvangirai alive again

This week Morgan Tsvangirai is back in England, home to his handlers. The pretext is some conference on non-renewable resources and how they are being exploited. It is a conference ostensibly hosted by an NGO, but of course we know who is behind it, and how all this reinforces the message from the lowly British official mentioned above.

True to form, the resurged Tsvangirai was sat among leaders of other African countries and was primed to indict Zanu PF, Zimbabwe, its resources and how they are being exploited. At no moment in his presentation did he make reference to the self-serving diamond lobby which has demeaned Zimbabwe, criminalised its use of own resources.

He verbalised the script which the British want, which the Americans hope to provide a basis for a new assault on the triumphant Zanu PF. Add to all that the fact that Chinamasa, the new Minister of Finance and Economic Planning, spent a whole two weeks in Washington, engaging the IMF, only to bring back more rules, more requirements, then you begin to see how dark, how evil the hour is. The storm is gathering and only a snoozing Zanu PF can regale itself with results of July 31.

Or demobilise its constituency through fractious politics, through inane fights and thoughts.
Unbowed and never to be defeated, the British are already looking beyond July 31, looking at reinventing the opposition, looking at rebuilding an atmosphere of engulfing defeatism and pessimism as happened in 2008. Such a national mood is hospitable to its politics.

Did you know?
De-Zanufication agenda

My parting shot comes by way of the thoughts of one Vince Musewe. Each time he writes, he signs off as some economist based in Harare. As indeed he did three days ago in a piece titled, “Liberation war mentality stifling Zimbabwe”. I have followed his thought-racks, especially after July 31. For a while he went into mourning, licking his weeping wounds following the trouncing of MDC-T, presumably his preferred party. Today he seems to be twitching back to life, recuperating from a deep swoon.

Therein lies the significance of his piece. After parodying Karl Marx - and it’s a real parody - he boldly states: “The psychology and behaviours of the liberation struggle continue to negatively impact our socio-economic development.” He adds: “I would argue that the political management structures, psychology and behaviours during the war are still dominant today in Zimbabwe. In fact, they continue to negatively impact our socio-political fabric, in a manner that can only be described as repugnant and retrogressive.”

And adds: “Our battle is therefore a psychological one. Zimbabwe’s politicians must be psychologically cleansed and emancipated from a past that rears its head at every corner and in every nook and cranny, a past that continues to inform the present to the detriment of social progress and the self-actualisation of many ordinary folk.”
Hallmark leadership

I don’t think Vince must be feared. He is such a bad communicator to be a persuasive one. But he represents a good appreciation of the post-July 31 opposition in Zimbabwe. It is resurging, indeed beginning to reconnect with its existential mission of extinguishing the liberation ethos on behalf of overseas white interests. Does it not beat one’s understanding that this Vince chafes about the liberation ethos and not about the colonial ethos which infuse his thinking, indeed which naturalises his own marginalisation in an economy he wrongly thinks is now owned by rulers from the liberation struggle!

This is what has been happening to Rome while Zanu PF fiddles. That is what riles me. The forces of reaction are beginning to regroup while my Party is chasing little game. Manheru belongs to no faction, never will. His pen belongs to Zimbabwe, which must remain free and indigenous, hopefully under a conscious and enlightened Zanu PF which must continue to lead.

And which must always correctly characterise the moment we are in, the dangers that confront us, the battles we must fight, the tools we need to employ, the unity we must forge.

That is the hallmark of a liberation movement. Icho!

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(WHAT'S LEFT) On the Iraq-Syria Border, ‘Terrorist’s’ and a Prime Minister on One Side, ‘Rebels’ and a ‘Brutal Dictator’ on the Other
October 25, 2013
By Stephen Gowans

No one would be surprised these days to open a newspaper to read: Violence in Syria has risen dramatically since the spring of 2011, when a mostly Sunni and primarily peaceful protest movement against the Alawite-dominated government in Damascus drew a violent response from regime forces.

But would they be surprised to read the same sentence, with Shiite replacing Alawite, and Baghdad in place of Damascus?


Yet much the same sentence appeared in the Wall Street Journal on October 24. Reporters Matt Bradley and Ali A. Nabhan wrote that, “Violence (in Iraq’s Anbar province) has risen dramatically since the spring, when a mostly Sunni and primarily peaceful protest movement against the Shiite-dominated government in Baghdad drew a violent response from security forces.”

Anbar borders Syria.

The Western narrative on Syria is that a government dominated by one religious group used violence to quell a largely peaceful protest movement of another, triggering an armed rebellion. Just like Anbar.

The government’s actions, and the uprising that followed, were labelled a problem by Western news media and governments—a problem to be resolved by removing a president who is “killing his own people” (and who also, just happens, to refuse to play along with Washington’s economic and foreign policy agenda.) Not like Anbar.

Hence, while two very similar situations exit side-by-side, they have been met by completely different reactions in the West, not only on the part of governments, but also the news media, and a certain faction of leftists that mistake reaction for revolution.

The Western news media have been virtually silent on Maliki’s cracking down violently on a mostly Sunni and primarily peaceful protest movement, yet fevered and voluble in its coverage of the Syrian insurgency, and was, even in the uprising’s early days. Practically everyone knows about Syria. How many know about Anbar?

Western governments have designated Syrian president Bashar al-Assad a pariah, but haven’t demonized Iraqi prime minister Nouri al-Maliki, have refused to denounce him as a brute who kills his own people, and haven’t told him he has lost his legitimacy, and must step down, as Assad has been told.

And yet as the Washington Post’s Liz Sly noted on 8 February,

The grievances [against Maliki]…are real, as was articulated last week in a Human Rights Watch report condemning the “draconian” measures used by the Maliki government to curtail its opponents. The report cited widespread allegations of abuse within the criminal justice system including torture, the rape of female prisoners and arbitrary arrests, as well as the successful suppression of an earlier attempt to organize Arab Spring-style demonstrations in Baghdad and elsewhere in 2011 (“Arab Spring-style protests take hold in Iraq”).

While some leftists in the West have embraced the Syrian insurgency as if it were a modern day October Revolution in embryo, they have not rallied to the cause of the Anbar insurgents. Probably because they’ve never heard of them, and maybe because the Western news media have yet to invent a faction of moderate (i.e., ‘good’) rebels that the kind souls of the left can embrace. The field, instead, is dominated by the same al-Qaeda-linked Islamists who lead Syria’s insurgency.

According to the Wall Street Journal, the Anbar fighters “flow fluidly back and forth across the Iraq-Syria border, staging attacks on both sides…” These are the same fighters the US occupation army battled in Iraq during the surge of 2007. Of course, back then, they were called “terrorists”, and were considered “legitimate” targets in a war on terror.

Funny, “terrorists” is what the Syrian government calls them today, when they set off car bombs, execute captives, eviscerate bodies, and saw off heads, on the Syrian side of the border. All the same, this is considered illegitimate terminology by Western governments, who prefer that terrorists who work on their side be called rebels, freedom fighters, or part of a popular, democratic, uprising.

Maliki, the prime minister who wields violence to crush largely peaceful protest movements, remains Washington’s man in Baghdad. As a consequence, he need not worry about getting the Assad-treatment…for now. Just as Ethiopia’s Meles Zenawi was in reality the monster Zimbabwe’s Robert Mugabe is made out to be by Western governments and news media, Meles escaped sanction and demonization from the West, and was lionized when he died last year, because he did the West’s bidding. Mugabe is more interested in his country’s independence from the West—hence, the sullying of his name in Western capitals and newsrooms.

It didn’t matter how many people Meles locked up, killed and tortured, he remained the model statesman in Western eyes, as Maliki may, so long as he doesn’t develop too much of an independent streak. Assad, the president who says “Syria is an independent state working for the interests of its people, rather than making the Syrian people work for the interests of the West,” is, however, quite another matter.

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(NEWZIMBABWE) Ethanol blending to save Zimbabwe $4m/month
24/10/2013 00:00:00
by Business Day

ZIMBABWE is hoping to save as much as $4m each month after instituting mandatory blending of petrol with 10% ethanol, which is set to start on Thursday.

The country’s energy sector watchdog, the Zimbabwe Energy Regulatory Authority (Zera), said all petrol imported into the country now had to be blended with ethanol before distribution.

The move to force petroleum dealers to sell only blended petrol is also expected to benefit the state-run petroleum company, the National Oil Infrastructure Company (NOIC), which will be in charge of all the blending, sources in the Zimbabwean petroleum industry said on Wednesday.

Zimbabwe imports all of its fuel mostly through Mozambique, Botswana and South Africa, with petrol retailing at about $1.49 a litre while diesel costs about $1.33 a litre.

It was not immediately clear whether individual companies would still be allowed to import petrol and how their stock would be blended.

Zera CEO Gloria Magombo this week said the mandatory blending volume had been increased to 10% ethanol, from 5% before.
This is expected to marginally bring down the price of petrol in Zimbabwe, sources said.

Zera said petroleum distributors in the country had up to 10 days to clear their stock of unleaded petrol to pave the way for petrol blended with 10% ethanol.

Economists said the mandatory blending would allow Zimbabwe to capitalise on opportunities presented with growing sugar cane, an industry in which South African agro-processor Tongaat Hulett is a major player.

"The government will benefit more because all blending will be done through a state-owned company," said economist Johannes Kwangwari. "But there are also opportunities for increased sugar-cane production capacity as ethanol is a by-product."

Zera said the mandatory blending would save see Zimbabwe "about $4m every month in (fuel) imports".

"Ethanol blending contributes towards energy security of the country, reduces the fuel import bill, creates employment and has the potential for power generation," it said.

The government has gazetted amendments to the country’s energy regulations to enforce the mandatory blending.

Ethanol uptake in Zimbabwe, according to Zera, more than doubled to 2.2-million litres in September from July’s consumption spurred by the introduction of mandatory blending.

Ethanol is produced at the $600m Chisumbanje plant in Manicaland province.

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(NEWZIMBABWE) Back off! Students union tells Chamisa
I helped found ZINASU and want it to remain strong ...
Nelson Chamisa
23/10/2013 00:00:00
by Staff Reporter

THE Zimbabwe National Students’ Union (ZINASU) on Wednesday demanded that the opposition MDC-T stops interfering in its affairs and blasted the party’s organising secretary, Nelson Chamisa, for allegedly causing havoc in the organisation.

Addressing a press conference in Harare, outgoing ZINASU president, Pride Mukono, said the union had been forced to postpone its congress on a number of occasions due to problems caused by top MDC-T officials.

“We changed the dates for our congress from the 25th to the 27th this month," Mukono said.

We had to change again to the 22nd and now to the 23rd of November not only because of logistical challenges but also because of interference by outside parties, particularly the MDC-T.”

“And quite apart from interfering in our internal processes, we also have MDC-T officials threatening physical violence against delegates expected to attend the congress.

“This is becoming an issue of particular concern to us as ZINASU because we are a non-violent movement we believe in peace; we believe in the ideology of transformation.
“We also believe that as a movement we must retain our autonomy and independence which is very paramount for any movement.”

The ZINASU chief said it was unfortunate that a national political party had reduced itself to interfering in the affairs of student bodies.

“We are particularly worried by the organising secretary of the MDC-T Nelson Chamisa who has gone to the extent of sponsoring factions within ZINASU structures in a bid to re-claim lost glory after his party’s devastating defeat in the last elections.”

However, Chamisa said it was in the interest of his party to ensure that the voice of students was not stifled.

“Are you aware that I am one of the founding members of ZINASU,” he said.

“I founded (the organisation) together with luminaries like (the late) Learnmore Jongwe, Daniel Molokele and Job Sikhala we founded ZINASU and led it to the best of our ability. Why would we want to destroy that which we helped found?”

He added: “Throughout my whole life I have always believed in the student struggle and the last thing that I would do even if I had the opportunity is to undermine a cause for which my whole life has been dedicated to.”

The former ZINASU president said the last time that he was active in student politics was when “I was stills student.

“If they want advice on how to connect with students I am still available to help. Instead of pointing fingers at me they must point fingers at me to signal invitation. We are more than willing to help if they want.”

But Mukono said external forces and individuals should not invite themselves to the organisation’s activities.

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(ANN GARRISON) AfrobeatRadio guests: Al Shabaab and Somali pirates created by international piracy and military force
Submitted by Ann Garrison on Thu, 01/19/2012 - 15:03

WBAI AfrobeatRadio on Somalia, with journalist/Icc Broadcasting Network host Hassan Isilow and University of Minnesota Professor Abdi Samatar

Hassan Isilow, Journalist and radio host for Icc Broadcasting, a gobal Islamic network

On 11.26.2011, we spoke to Professor Abdi Samatar and journalist Hassan Isilow, following that week's news, reported by Democracy Now, the Daily Maverick and other outlets, that U.S. ally Ethiopia had once again invaded Somalia across Somalia's Western border backed up by the ongoing U.S. drone bombing from U.S. military bases in the region. The Telegraph reported, on November 15th, that Israel is supporting the Kenyan invasion of Somalia across its southern border.

This week's Somalia news included:

1) Hunger, homelessness, and the Somali refugee population, continue to grow.

2) Six Somali refugees died, burned to death by the Kenyan Army in Kenya.

3) Six Somalis, including an aid worker and a security guard, died in a suicide bomb blast at a refugee camp in Somalia's capital Mogadishu.

4) The BBC reported that oil drilling has begun in Somalia's Puntland State, which may have up to 4 billion barrels of oil.
University of Minnesota Geography Professor Abdi Samatar

The fundamentals of the Somali crisis discussed on AfrobeatRadio in November remain the same. Abdi Samatar said, and Hassan Isilow agreed that international forces imposing a political project on Somalia, plus the Ethiopian occupation, produced Al-Shabaab and "the Somali pirates." Abdi Samatar said that the biggest pirates off the Somali coast are the international fishing fleets who have stolen billions of dollars worth of fish from the mouths of the Somali people, and Hassan Isilow said that local piracy had also arisen in response to foreign ships dumping toxic waste off the Somali Coast.

Abdi Samatar said, "I think what our audience needs to know is that there was a great deal of hope about the coming of the Obama Administration to power. And many of us worked for him . . . The tragedy is that this Administration has done more damage than even the Bush Administration overseas, especially in Somalia."

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(ANN GARRISON) Rwandese and Congolese to the ICC: Indict Kagame
Submitted by Ann Garrison on Sun, 08/12/2012 - 06:45

KPFA Evening News, 08.11.2012

International criminal lawyer Christopher Black on the Rwandese and Congolese coalition that will, next Friday, gather in the Hague to petition Fatou Bensouda, the new Chief Prosecutor at the International Criminal Court, to investigate and indict Rwandan President Paul Kagame.


International criminal attorney Christopher Black

KPFA Evening News Anchor: Next Friday, August 17th, a coalition of Rwandan and Congolese social justice groups will gather in the Hague to demonstrate and petition theInternational Criminal Court to investigate and indict Rwandan President Paul Kagame, for violations of the arms embargo and sanctions within the Democratic Republic of the Congo. KPFA's Ann Garrison spoke to Canadian native and international criminal lawyer Christopher Black, who will fly to the Hague next week to act as their legal counsel.

KPFA: Hi, Christopher.

Christopher Black: Yes, that works.

KPFA: OK, tell us about this case.

Christopher Black: The FDU, the United Forces for Democracy in Rwanda plus the Rwandan National Congress, and Women for Peace and Democracy in Rwanda have planned an Gambian lawyer Fatou Bensouda swore in as the new Chief Prosecutor at the International Criminal Court on June 15th, 2012, vowing to faithfully, impartially, and conscientiously exercise her power to fight the world's worst war criminals. Photo, courtesy of the ICC action on the 17th of August, which is next Friday, in the Hague, to protest and get a petition signed to present to the prosecutor to try and influence her to charge Paul Kagame for violating various arms embargoes and helping the M23 so-called rebellion in Congo in violation of Security Council sanctions. And they've taken that action because it gives the ICC temporal and territorial jurisdiction over Kagame and his forces. The prosecutor so far has only charged Congolese who seemed to stand in the way of Western interests in the Congo, and the FDU and the others are fed up with that, like everybody else is, and want the ICC to stop their policy of selective prosecution and charge people equally. So, since Museveni and Kagame and his western backers have been the ones who've instigated all these wars and so-called rebellions in the eastern Congo, they should be charged. And that's the object of the exercise. So they asked me last weekend just to come as legal advisor or counsel on that particular action.

And Congolese groups have joined in. There's a Congo Nova, and Association for the Defense of Democracy in Congo. So it's going to be a combined Congolese-Rwandan action.

KPFA: Is there going to be a formal complaint? Is there a formal complaint to be submitted yet?

Christopher Black: Well, they're going to present a document. That document will include reference to the latest report by the UN, in its Annex, which details all these violations and General Paul Kagame on his satellite phone in the field during the Rwandan Civil War of 1994. crimes, and the UN Mapping Report from 2010. It also includes the Gersony Report.

KPFA/Ann Garrison: But, doesn't the Gersony Report describe Kagame's army's slaughter of Rwandan Hutus, in Rwanda, rather than Congo, all the way back in 1994?

Christopher Black: I asked them to do that because all those things go together. It doesn't give the ICC time jurisdiction for those crimes, but it shows intent and motivation and the nature of the Kagame government, so it's all circumstantial evidence which supports that they are committing crimes now 'cause they've done it in the past. So they couldn't charge Kagame under the Rome Statute for those crimes committed from '94 up to 2003, but it shows the nature of the regime.

KPFA/Ann Garrison: Because the Rome Statute was. . .?

Christopher Black:Yeah, the Rome Statute only came into effect in 2002, but then it had a year delay until you couldn't charge anybody for one more year after that. So 2003 is the first time for which they would have temporal jurisdiction over crimes committed in the Congo. And, since Rwanda is not a signatory to the Rome Statute, but Congo is, they could only charge Kagame and his officers with crimes committed inside the Congo, which would give them jurisdiction over him and his officers. Because the statute says that if any country or group commits crimes within a territory which is signatory to the statute, then even if they're not signatory themselves, they would be under the jurisdiction of the ICC.

International Criminal Court in The Hague, Netherlands

KPFA/Ann Garrison: Do groups like this have the right to file a complaint with the ICC?

Christopher Black: Well, they want to file a complaint based on all this information, which no doubt the prosecutor already has in her hands. So it's saying, "This is the information we know you have; we have it; we're presenting it to you; we want you to start an investigation. And, what's your position?"

KPFA's Cameron Jones: And that was KPFA's Ann Garrison speaking to international criminal attorney Christopher Black about a Rwandan and Congolese coalition that will travel to the Hague next Friday to call on the International Criminal Court to indict Rwandan President Paul Kagame.

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(ANN GARRISON) ICC judges say Kenya's Kenyatta can skip much of his own criminal trial
Submitted by Ann Garrison on Sat, 10/19/2013 - 21:02

KPFA Evening News, 2013

International Criminal Court judges say that Kenyan President Uhuru Kenyatta need not be present for all of his own trial for crimes against humanity.


KPFA Evening News Anchor David Rosenberg: And, you are listening to the Evening News, KPFA and KPFB in Berkeley, KFCF in Fresno, and

Yesterday a majority of International Criminal Court judges ruled that Kenyan President Uhuru Kenyatta need not be present for much of his own trial for crimes against humanity, but that he must be present during the opening and closing statements, the victims’ testimony, and, the verdict. If found guilty, he must attend sentencing hearings and the delivery of sentencing, at which point he would presumably be taken into custody, leaving Kenya to replace him. KPFA’s Ann Garrison has more.

KPFA/Ann Garrison: Kenyan President Uhuru Kenyatta says he’s too busy, as Kenya’s elected head of state, to attend his trial at the International Criminal Court in the Hague, and the African Union, in their recent gathering in Addis Abbaba, Ethiopia, passed a resolution that, as a sitting head of state, he shouldn’t have to. The court indicted Kenyatta for organizing violence that rose to the level of crimes against humanity, after his party lost the Kenyan 2007-2008 election, but he was nevertheless elected president in April 2013. His rival, former Kenyan Prime Minister Raul Odinga, who is favored by the U.S., said that he didn’t know how Kenyatta could run the country via SKYPE from the Hague.

Black Agenda Report Editor Glen Ford, like many other critics of the court, says that Kenyatta’s indictment is another example of the U.S. using the International Criminal Court as an imperial tool.

Glen Ford: It is a travesty of justice that the ICC only indicts Africans, but even more importantly, the International Criminal Court also only indicts those politicians that get on the wrong Kenyatta shook hands on deals worth $5 billion with Chinese Premier Xi Jinping in August 2013. side of the United States and the former colonial powers in Africa. The ICC is a tool of U.S. foreign policy.

KPFA: Some say that the U.S. is unhappy with President Kenyatta because he prefers to do business with China, and he did, in August 2013, sign five billion dollar deals with Chinese Premier Xi Jinping, to build a railway line, an energy project, and improve wildlife protection. Yesterday an energy professional and Christian Science Monitor contributor said that Kenya’s oil reserves might soar past even Uganda’s.

Glen Ford disagrees with South Africa’s former Archbishop Desmond Tutu, who says that African leaders are effectively looking for a license to kill, main and oppress their own people by withdrawing from the ICC. He says that the United States collaborates in such crimes and objects only as a matter of political convenience.

Glen Ford: And here lies the greatest irony. The very nations that most oppose the ICC have the blood of millions on their hands. Rwanda and Uganda are principally responsible for the death of six million Congolese over the past 17 years, an ongoing genocide armed and financed by the United States and Britain. The Ethiopian regime's brutality towards its Somali and Oromo ethnic groups has also been described as genocidal. But because the United States is also deeply complicit in these crimes, there is no threat of prosecution by the Black Agenda Report Editor Glen Ford International Criminal Court.

KPFA: African scholars writing in the African Pambazuka News and Black Star News have sided with Tutu, arguing that despite the court’s obvious bias and imperfection, the threat of indictment and conviction there restrains the violence of African strongmen. And that instead of rejecting the court out of hand, dissidents should demand that it live up to its stated ideals.

For Pacifica, KPFA and AfrobeatRadio, I'm Ann Garrison.

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(LAND DESTROYER REPORT, RT) Ready to detonate: Saudi-backed rebels strap bombs to Geneva-2 talks
Nile Bowie

As Syria’s rebels refuse to take part in Geneva-2, Saudi Arabia has emerged as the primary state-backer of rebel groups now trying to escalate the Syrian conflict and topple Assad by force.

When Vladimir Putin met with Prince Bandar of Saudi Arabia in August, the newly appointed Intelligence Chief reportedly tried to cut a deal with Moscow by promising to buy billions in Russian arms and pledging not to challenge Russian gas sales to Europe in exchange for withdrawing support for Syrian President Bashar al-Assad. Though later refuted by the Kremlin, the media reports suggested that Bandar told Putin to forget about any political solution to the Syrian conflict.

In addition to being the main propagator of a militant anti-Shiite form of Islam that many rebel fighters subscribe to, the Saudi monarchy has become the chief financier of anti-Assad movements aimed at toppling the Syrian government and weakening its allies in Iran and Hezbollah. Russian diplomatic sources claim that the August 21 chemical weapons attack in the suburbs of Damascus was carried out by a Saudi-black op team with support from the Liwa Al-Islam group, a hardline militia headed by the son of a Saudi-based Salafi cleric.

Following the attack in August, Saudi Arabian diplomats pressured Obama to take military action – the collective message was, "You can't as president draw a line and then not respect it."

The Saudi strategy consisted of staging the August 21 attack that Assad’s forces would be credited with, and using it to support foreign intervention to topple Damascus.

The landmark chemical weapon disarmament deal hatched by Russia tripped the House of Saud and prevented US unilateral actions against Syria, but Assad’s opponents are by no means ready to explore a political solution to the conflict.

Washington claims to be working towards Geneva-2, but, like many rebel groups, maintains that Assad should resign before any talks take place. Essentially, this position is a form of blackmail of Russia and Assad’s allies – it calls for either the Western-backed opposition in exile to absorb executive power, or a prolonged military conflict. Assad’s opponents are not serious about a political solution, as demanding that one party resigns as a precondition before the other party can negotiate completely undermines the premise of dialogue to begin with.

A civil war within a civil war

The main feature of the Syrian battleground is that armed groups of the opposition are becoming more and more split and prone to infighting.

Recent fighting between the Islamic State of Iraq & the Levant group against battalions linked to the Western-backed Free Syrian Army have killed dozens in Aleppo; this discord between rebel groups paints of a picture of what Syria could look like even if Assad is toppled.

The levels of instability seen today in Libya and Iraq are an indication of how bad things can get when lawless militias are empowered in the absence of a central governing authority. If Assad’s opponents had their way in Syria, dozens of groups would take advantage of the post-Assad power vacuum to vie for control. This means that although the Baath-dominated political establishment would be toppled, it would certainly not result in an end to the conflict, only the beginning of a new and more ruthless chapter.

The Free Syrian Army is increasingly losing clout on the ground as rival groups refuse to take orders from their command structure, which is gradually being viewed with suspicion by other rebel battalions due to its links with Washington.

Islamist factions such as Jabhat Al-Nusra, the Farouq Brigade, and Jaish Al-Islam seek to form a new caliphate with Damascus as its capital. This new state would be subservient to Saudi Arabia and its brand of ideological Wahhabism and it would reject an inclusive secular framework; it would be hostile to Alawites, Shiites, Christians, and anyone branded an “unbeliever.”

In this scenario, Syria would become a global hub for jihad and those foreign fighters who took part in the war would return to their home countries and potentially carry out similar tactics used in Syria, posing a potential threat. The Pandora ’s Box of radicalism has already been opened in Syria, and the only chance of closing it will come through a partnership between the Syrian government and those groups who allege to be moderates.

Moderate war criminal vs. Radical war criminal

The distinction is often made between the radical Islamist elements and the more secular and moderate elements of Syria’s opposition, but it should not be forgotten that both camps are widely credited with war crimes by various human rights organizations.

Human Rights Watch (HRW) recently published a compelling report detailing a systematically planned campaign against civilians in the pro-government Alawite-stronghold of Latakia, where nearly 200 innocents were killed by means of torture, beheading, and execution. Although the report details how several private donors from Gulf countries contributed funds to rebel groups, the report falls short in its failure to ask tough political questions about the sources of funding.

Syria’s opposition militias are more mercenaries than rebels, and the significant resources they’ve amassed signal massive state-sponsorship. Saudi Arabia and the CIA have been the principal financiers of rebel groups, and although it is publically denied, the massive influx of arms they’ve provided for the conflict have empowered radical elements in Syria – to gloss over these realities would be negligent.

As the chief of Saudi Intelligence, Prince Bandar is now building a new strategy that would see Riyadh’s central foreign-policy goal of toppling Assad realized. As long as that goal comes to fruition, the secular or radical orientation of the militias really does not make a difference.

Bandar’s aim is to broaden Saudi Arabia’s regional clout so as to position himself strategically when the next royal succession takes place. As Washington and Riyadh evidently have no interest in a political solution, a new pretext would be required to escalate the conflict to force Assad out. If chemical weapons are used again, Assad can either be blamed for their use or blamed for allowing rebels to capture his stockpiles. Intervention can be justified on the basis of “punishing” Assad or under the mandate of peacekeeping and humanitarianism.

If the work of the foreign inspectors, tasked with dismantling Syria’s chemical stockpiles, is disrupted, or if either party harms OPCW personnel, this can also be another channel that would allow Washington to threaten Assad with unilateral strikes and other consequences. If the Obama administration is truly interested in resolving this conflict, it should tell Bandar to halt and freeze its aid to the rebels in exchange for dialogue with Assad, with no preconditions under the framework of Geneva-2.

This story originally appeared on

Nile Bowie is a Malaysia-based political analyst and a columnist with Russia Today. He also contributes to PressTV, Global Research, and CounterPunch. He can be reached at

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There is too much dishonesty in our politics
By Editor
Wed 23 Oct. 2013, 14:00 CAT

A government starts with a political party. And a good government depends on a good political party. If the political party that forms government is not a good one, it will be very difficult to get a good government out of it.

Therefore, the need for good party leadership cannot be overemphasised if we have to harbour any hope of a good government, a government that can move things forward and improve the lot of our people.

No honest government can come out of a corrupt political party. A government's conduct is a reflection of the conduct of the political party that has sponsored it. If a political party that has sponsored a government is one which is dominated by corrupt elements, that government is likely to be a corrupt one. And if that government happens to be led by an incorruptible president, that president will be under a lot of pressure from corrupt elements to act in a manner that makes his government reflect the dominant character, the corrupt character of the party.

Therefore, the politics of the ruling party have a large bearing on how the government it has sponsored conducts its affairs. Moreover, the party that sponsors a government always feels and behaves in a way that tries to assert that fact - the fact that it is their government, the party and its government.

It is therefore crass dishonesty for anyone to try and claim that the infighting that has been going on in the ruling Patriotic Front has no effects on the operations of government. It does. And this is a fact.
The corruption that is today manifesting in some of the leaders and cadres of the Patriotic Front has an effect on the operations of government. Today we have leaders and cadres in the Patriotic Front who think and sincerely believe it is their time to eat, government contracts for roads and other infrastructure development and supplies to government should go to them. They sincerely believe this. And some of them don't think there is anything wrong with this. They may oppose this type of behaviour in public purely for public relations purposes but privately, they are encouraging it, abetting it and participating in it.

To a large extent, the squabbles that are going on in the Patriotic Front today are a product of this. Some leaders and cadres of the party believe it is time to eat but there isn't much for them to share. The leadership of Michael Sata is different from that of Rupiah Banda or Frederick Chiluba, which openly believed in giving government contracts to party leaders and cadres, and had no problem with this type of corruption.

Levy Mwanawasa didn't believe in this type of behaviour and he had a lot of problems with some of the MMD leaders and cadres. And if Michael continues on this path of being allergic to corruption, he is bound to end up the same way - the Levy way. Today, the anger, the frustration of not being able to corruptly get government business is being targeted at Wynter Kabimba. But tomorrow, it will be at Michael himself.

With or without Wynter, if corruption is allowed to take root in the Patriotic Front and be the way of doing politics and business, this problem will not end - the bickering in the Patriotic Front will continue to be the order of the day. And those who are allies today in the fight against Wynter will tomorrow be fighting each other, long after Wynter has been politically annihilated.

Clearly, the cause of all these problems in the Patriotic Front is dishonesty. People are not honest about their lack of commitment, and their disagreement with the direction, practices and norms Michael is imposing on them. Michael hates corruption, but how many of his fellow Patriotic Front leaders and cadres equally hate corruption and can be said to be allergic to it?

They fear Michael. They know his political capacity. And none of them can dare challenge him today on these issues. And because of this, they go for soft targets that share Michael's outlook on this score.

There has to be honesty on these issues. There is too much hypocrisy and lying. Honesty is needed in the leadership, cadreship and general membership of the Patriotic Front. It is said that practiced consistently, political honesty is a road that leads a man's mind and will to do good for one's country and one's people. For if someone a long time ago said that all roads led to Rome, today it can be stated that all roads of honest politics lead to a more just, fair and humane society.

In all honesty, there is no substitute for honest leadership if we are to take our country to prosperity through selfless service for others.
We must search for honest solutions to our problems rather than through connivance, cheating, secret deals, dark-corner meetings, because before we realise it, such practices will corrupt us, contaminate us and our consciousness.

Virtue must be nourished but vice springs up like weeds and grows by itself. We must bear that in mind. If we do otherwise, while nourishing virtue, we are simultaneously paving way for vice.

There is need for our political leaders to teach themselves and their cadres the importance of incorruptibility as the essence of self-respect.

Of all the properties which belong to honourable politicians, not one is as highly prized as that of honesty and integrity. It is said that leadership is the capacity and will to bring together men and women for a common purpose and the integrity of character which inspires confidence.

Integrity is the most indispensable and treasured quality of leadership. And one who aspires to be a good leader must always keep his word. You cannot be a good leader if to this one, you say this, and to that one, you say something else. A liar, a hypocrite, a double-tongued person, a man or woman of double standards can never provide good leadership. If you keep your word as a leader, you will be respected. It is important for a leader to always act in a manner consistent with his innermost beliefs and convictions. If a leader says he hates corruption, injustice, his actions must be consistent with that. It doesn't make sense for one who hates corruption to be the greatest entertainer of corrupt elements. Whatever one believes with emotion becomes one's reality. There is need for a leader to be in every respect clear about self and what one stands for. And truthfulness to all one is dealing with is the main element of character. Trying to dribble people is not leadership; it is deception and not leadership. You don't lead people by deceiving them, by cheating them. That's not leadership but criminal behaviour.

With more honesty and integrity, more will be achieved and fewer mistakes will be made. Leaders who are not honest can never be reliable. If one is not honest, they can steal and engage in all sorts of corrupt activities.

And if one can steal, they can also kill. And if one can kill, then there is no crime they cannot commit.

It is therefore important that only those who exhibit honest characteristics and integrity at all times should be given our votes and support.

Effective leadership is not about making good speeches and oratory, or being liked and popular; leadership is defined by results not attributes.

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